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Trade union fears loss of forensics service will disarm police

UK government plans to close the publicly-funded Forensic Science Service will seriously undermine the capacity of the police to investigate crime, according to the Prospect trade union.

The union’s members in the forensic service fear that private contractors will not have the necessary expertise to carry out key work in areas such as gunshot residue tests, specialist toxicology and analytical services, fie investigations and fingerprint technology development.

Prospect deputy general secretary Mike Clancy said in a statement: “FSS has at least 80 per cent of the total gunshot residue work in England and Wales with up to five times more instrument capacity and more reporting officers than commercial providers.

“To match this without significant disruption, competitors would need to double their capacity – unlikely in the short term – and commit to significant capital purchases and training to cope long term. Despite the importance of this work, nobody has spoken to FSS staff about how the service could be maintained either by any future owners of the FSS, the police service or the private sector.”